Those responsible for spreading falsities must be brought to book
It has been several months since the coronavirus found its way into Bangladesh, and there is little to suggest that the global pandemic, which has brought several of the most powerful nations in the world to its knees, will go away any time soon.
Unfortunately, as the virus has spread, so has a plethora of misinformation surrounding the virus, with conspiracy theories, false cures, and baseless rumours making the rounds via word of mouth or through social media, essentially making a terrible situation worse.
According to the World Health Organization, hundreds of people have lost their lives due to such false information in the first three months of this year, with close to 6,000 being admitted to the hospital for the same reason.
This pandemic is unlike anything the world and our nation has faced before and, as such, there still remain questions surrounding the disease, paving the pathway for an abundance of misinformation, leading people to ingest large amounts of garlic or alcohol-based cleaning products, which have ended up doing more harm than good, and in many cases, death.
In such a situation, it is imperative that international agencies and governments mobilize resources to raise awareness among the public, so that people are able to filter out the truth from the lies.
In an age of increasing connectivity, “infodemics” such as these find root far too easily. In response, governmental departments and private organizations must coordinate and work together to become sources of truth, and guide people towards understanding the difference between fact and fiction.
Law enforcement also has a part to play: Those responsible for spreading falsities must be brought to book.
The pandemic has already claimed close to 750,000 lives worldwide. Allowing such misinformation to spread unabated would only see this number climb higher and much faster than we can control.